Indiana Preview

Submitted by The Mathlete on October 1st, 2010 at 8:34 AM

All numbers included in this preview are using my PAN metric, Points Above Normal. PAN is essentially how many points above an average FBS team was a team/unit/player worth. For reference, an average FBS is approximately equal to Illinois or a top team from the MAC.

All games against FCS teams are excluded for all teams, as well as any plays in the second half where one team leads by more than 2 touchdowns or any end of half run out the clock situations.

At this point adjustments for strength of opponent are directional but still highly uncertain. They will be used when noted and excluded otherwise. As the season progresses almost all numbers will be opponent adjusted.

Rush Offense vs Indiana

Michigan Off, no adjustments: +13 PAN, 3rd nationally, 1st in Big 10

Michigan Off, opp adjusted: +6 PAN, 6th, 1st

Indiana Def, no adjustments: +2 PAN allowed, 58th, 7th

Indiana Def, opp adjusted: +3 PAN allowed, 101st, 11th

This should be another bloodbath on the ground. No matter how you slice it, Michigan is really good at running the ball and Indiana hasn’t been great at stopping it and they have played some terrible teams. Based on the numbers this is projected to be between a 9 and 15 point advantage for Michigan.

Denard Robinson is leading all players (including running backs) with a +13 PAN per game on the ground, nearly double the next highest quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick at Nevada and Cam Newton at Auburn who both sit at +7 PAN.

It sounds like Michael Shaw will be out this week. He has been Michigan’s leading running back but holds a relatively mundane +1 PAN on the season and is 12th among Big 10 running backs in total rushing PAN. Vincent Smith sits right behind Shaw with a +0 PAN and 13th in the Big 10.

Pass Offense vs Indiana

Michigan Off, no adjustments: +7 PAN, 22nd nationally, 4th in Big 10

Michigan Off, opp adjusted: +4 PAN, 16th, 2nd

Indiana Def, no adjustments: -3 PAN allowed, 14th, 2nd

Indiana Def, opp adjusted: +2 PAN allowed, 90th, 10th

Another big swing from Indiana’s cupcake non-conference schedule. Adjusting for opponent takes them from top 20 in pass defense to bottom 20. With a big advantage on the ground Michigan might be going to the air in large quantities but they shouldn’t have much trouble when they do. This matchup is projecting to be a 4-6 point advantage for Michigan.

With the limited throws required of Denard, his total value has been good at +5 passing, but with the success other Big 10 quarterbacks have had to dated his 54th ranking overall in passer value is 8th in the Big 10.

The limited attempts have also limited the numbers from the wideouts. Roundtree and Stonum are the two with enough catches and yards to qualify and they are a decent +4 and +2 respectively. These numbers put them at 16th and 24th in the conference.

Rush Defense vs Indiana

Michigan Def, no adjustments: +3 PAN allowed, 65th nationally, 9th in Big 10

Michigan Def, opp adjusted: +1 PAN allowed, 80th, 8th

Indiana Off, no adjustments: -1 PAN, 90th, 9th

Indiana Off, opp adjusted: -2 PAN, 84th, 9th

Indiana running the ball against Michigan’s defense has all the makings of a pillow fight. Indiana isn’t great at running the ball and Michigan isn’t great at stopping it. Don’t expect a big focus or advantage either way when it comes to Indiana running the ball.

Hoosier running back Darious Willis is the lone qualifying back from Indiana and he comes in 16th in the conference at –0 PAN per game on the season.

Pass Defense vs Indiana

Michigan Def, no adjustments: +4 PAN allowed, 70th nationally, 8th in Big 10

Michigan Def, opp adjusted: +2 PAN allowed, 85th, 9th

Indiana Off, no adjustments: +20 PAN, 1st, 1st

Indiana Off, opp adjusted: +8 PAN, 3rd, 1st

And things just got a bit scary. The secondary was a massive fear for Michigan fans everywhere coming into the season and even after accounting for their wretched non-conference opponents, Indiana’s passing game looks like a well oiled machine.

Quarterback Ben Chappell has been the man behind the entirety of the +20 PAN through the air. That feat of efficiency places him squarely at #1 in the country in value added among signal callers. He hasn’t been a threat on the ground at all, but his productivity and efficiency passing the ball have been second to none through the early non-conference slate.

His targets have included five different players with qualifying stats, three of which are ranked in the top 100 nationally. Damarlo Belcher is 8th nationally and tops in the Big 10 with +8 PAN on the season. Terrance Turner is fourth in the Big 10 at +6 and Tandon Doss is also a solid +5. The Hoosier’s fourth and fifth most productive targets have been Ted Bolswer and Duwyce Wilson, who despite having three guys ahead of them on their own team, are ahead of only Roy Roundtree on Michigan’s roster in receiver productivity. Running back Darius Willis is an occasional target as well, ranking fourth among Big 10 backs in receiving.

Because it’s still difficult to determine how much of Indiana’s success is directly due to their weak schedule, projecting this matchup seems especially difficult. Not difficult is saying that this should be a huge struggle for Michigan but in how bad is it going to be.

Special Teams and Penalties vs Indiana

Punters and punt returners will probably not decide this game. Indiana has been pretty average at both and Michigan has been above average at the punting and below average in the returning. When it comes to the frequent kickoffs and kick returns, both teams have been equally bad at both so far this season. The kicking has been a major sore spot for Michigan fans this season. After last week’s refusal to skip the field goals altogether, Michigan moves up to 114th nationally as other teams continue to trot out poor kickers. Indiana hasn’t been hit as hard as Michigan but their situation isn’t great itself. They come in at 87th nationally at –1.4 but have only attempted 2 field goals in their two FBS games.

Penalties could be interesting for these two teams as well. Both teams have been at the way wrong end of the penalties so far this year. Indiana is slightly better than Michigan at –2 and 102nd nationally versus Michigan’s 108th and –3 per game.

Predictions Almost Certain to Cost You Money if Taken Seriously

You don’t need any fancy stats to determine that this one has all the makings of a shootout. If both teams offenses continue rolling it might only take a stop or two for one defense to gain an advantage. If Michigan doesn’t lose the turnover battle they should have a pretty good shot at winning.

Michigan 35 Indiana 31

Elsewhere in the Big 10:

Ohio St 28 Illinois 13 – Ohio St goes back to a bit of Tressel-ball in Big 10 play

Iowa 17 Penn St 12 – The opposite of the Michigan Indiana game

Michigan St 28 Wisconsin 24 – Setting up a match of undefeated teams next week

Minnesota 35 Northwestern 31 – Upset of the week, the Fighting Brewsters pull one out


Alabama 21 Florida 17 - Alabama wins another one ugly

Stanford 34 Oregon 31 – Stanford knocks off the Ducks in Eugene.



October 1st, 2010 at 9:07 AM ^

I'll be really surprised if we only put up 35 points on Indiana.

Also, am I properly interpreting your numbers as Indiana getting a bigger advantage passing than our advantage running?  I have trouble accepting that.  Our rushing offense is averaging more than their passing offense and we have played tougher competition.  Plus, rushing yards are better to have then passing yards.  Add to that, our passing offense is better than their rushing offense.  IMHO the stats point to a decisive Michigan victory.

The Mathlete

October 1st, 2010 at 9:45 AM ^

I have no doubts that our offense will roll against Indiana. The 35 point target is more because I anticipate us slowing the game down like we did against UConn to limit total possessions and give our defense a better chance to adjust and rest. 

The discrepancy between Indiana pass off and our rush off is based on two things. It is much easier to put up huge passing numbers than huge rushing numbers. Michigan's rushing numbers right now are astronomical. The other main reason is that Indiana only has two games against terrible competition in the system. Those numbers will certainly come way down as the season progresses, even if the Hoosiers passing game stays very good. This is why I didn't want to put up a final number for Indiana passing. Anything I put would be overstated but there isn't enough data to tell by how much.


October 1st, 2010 at 9:25 PM ^

I could see us slowing the game down . . .  but then is IU really likely to score 31?   I feel like if they're good enough to be scoring that much, we'd have to turn up the tempo ourselves.  This isn't a game where we want to keep it close for four quarters. 


October 1st, 2010 at 9:57 AM ^

Agreed on two counts: only 35 would surprise me and I'm confused by the numbers as well.  The only explanation I can arrive at is that the individual PAN numbers are not the value added to the overall team, but perhaps the value added as compared to other specific positions/units?  In other words, Ben Chappell is an extremely valuable QB making the WR corp one of the most valuable in the country.  If my assumption is correct, it'd be good to see an overall offense PAN to truly compare. 

Additionally, perhaps Mathlete could explain how PAN translates into the approximate number of points advantage or disadvantage he mentioned in his diary?

EDIT: Think I got the range etablished for Michigan's run game.  (Mich +6 adjusted )) + (IU +3 adjusted D) = 9; (Mich +13 unadjusted O) + (IU +2 unadjusted D) = 15.

ND Sux

October 1st, 2010 at 9:14 AM ^


Appreciate the mathmatical breakdown, but M wins by 17 or more.  They simply won't be able to stop the M run game.  At all. 


October 1st, 2010 at 9:26 AM ^

Does anybody know how to paint wings on this so it'll go with my new #16 jersey?


I'm thinking maybe covering it in tape as a stencil and using yellow spray paint.  If I had any skill at art whatsoever, I might try sewing yellow cloth on, but  A. game is tomorrow. B. awful lot of work for a hat C. I have all the artistic skill of a doormouse without eyes, hands, or indeed a brain..


October 1st, 2010 at 9:32 AM ^

MSU over Wisco? That would be pretty surprising. I think pretty much everyone on this board, and most of the "experts" on TV and online all have Wisconsin by at least a touchdown.Vegas seems to have the line a little closer, but still.


October 1st, 2010 at 9:55 AM ^

I wonder if the defense will be focused on stopping the pass which will open up some run lanes for IU

Also a q

"would you rather have the #1 pass offense in the country or the #1 run offense?"

I think I would take the run. remembering what woody said about the 3 things which can happen when you pass

Promote RichRod

October 1st, 2010 at 10:14 AM ^

At the end of the season, do you still think Indiana will be rated the #1 passing offense?

They have played the worst of the worse in FBS and a crappy FCS team.  I know the stats presented here are supposed to control for this--but it can't be emphasized enough.  Their competition has won 1 game, collectively.  Indiana is a paper tiger. Which were you more afraid of  - Crist to Rudolph/Floyd/that other guy that's pretty good or Chappel to Belcher/...?  UConn's rushing attack and Armando Allen, or whoever plays for Indiana?

Also, they can't stop the run.  Remember when BGSU couldn't stop the run?  Our OL is straight dominant.

We will roll.


October 1st, 2010 at 10:17 AM ^

now getting that dreaded test. The good news is that it's in a context in which we should still win, and GERG and RichRod can tweak, twist, patch, mend, velcro, duct from there. Could be worse. 


October 1st, 2010 at 10:23 AM ^

but I honestly think that until we're 7-8 games into the season, they just don't mean a whole lot.  The competition that Indiana has played thus is vastly inferior to the teams that Michigan has played.  And yet, by your numbers, Michigan wins every battle except against Indiana's passing game.  I expect the jump in the level of competition to overwhelm Indiana, and though they will score 2-3 touchdowns, this won't be all that close of a game.  I'm going with Michigan 45, Indiana 20.

myantoniobass …

October 1st, 2010 at 12:20 PM ^

Even though IU had the whole month of September to prep for this game vs. crepe teams, our D makes a statement tomorrow.  The numbers don't factor in the heart change we witnessed on D last week.  Mouton already had his 1 bad game of the year.  M in the 40s, IU in the 20s.  Book it.


October 1st, 2010 at 12:09 PM ^

Sorry to be Debbie Downer but if The Mathlete's numbers project only a 35 - 31 win over Indiana I fear what they will project as the final score against MSU. Focusing on this game I think the key for Michigan will be getting an early lead on long time consuming drives which should provide enough cushion for the defense to blitz and put pressure on Chappel. A sack/fumble or pick should turn the game into a blow out. If Michigan's offense sputters in the first half and IU's offense plays well there will be a second half shoot out that will be fun to watch.

The Mathlete

October 1st, 2010 at 1:21 PM ^

My predicted spread is in line with my overall numbers but  I did depress the overall point totals based on two factors. #1 I think one or both of the teams are going to look to slow this game down and reduce the overall number of possessions, thus reducing the overall point totals. #2 I have no numbers to back this one up, but it seems like matchups that are destined to be absolute shootouts often fall short of the sky high expectations. 


October 1st, 2010 at 12:13 PM ^

Let me get this straight. You think we'll only manage 35 points against Indiana, but MSU and that offense will score 28 on Wisconsins D? Explain please...

Bronco Joe

October 1st, 2010 at 12:19 PM ^

I think this game will be very similar to UConn, but with a slightly improved offense. I still think a lot of the bad UConn passes were a result of the UM defensive line applying pressure. That should happen again this week with little rushing offense by IU. UM rushing offense will likely also be much like it was against UConn, giving the defense plenty of rest time as the Mathlete commented.

I also think tune up games are great to work the bugs out, but you need some competition to gain real experience. IU has not played a single game where they were tested and gained REAL experience. UM has had 3 such games (UConn, UMass, and ND).

Love the numbers, but I'm going with laying the 10.5. Michigan by at least 2 TDs.


October 2nd, 2010 at 12:54 AM ^

My question is whether or not there is a way to account for "scoring pressure" of one team's offense on the opposing team's offense?  Similar to the Colts in the NFL, if Michigan's offense is able to score prolifically, how does that change the tempo, play distribution, and ultimately the PAN of the opposing team as it tries to "keep up"?  I assume a team being one dimensional would help w/defensive stats.  Also, others have talked about the UConn game and how Michigan slowed it down to limit possessions, obviously after they had gone up big, and I want to know how that changes the dynamic of the opponents offense and how that may change Michigan's defensive numbers (favorably I presume).  So, is it possible to do this?  I think this may give us a better idea of how RR and GERG are "masking" the deficiencies in the defense.


October 2nd, 2010 at 2:40 AM ^

UM 72 -  IU 45.  Kind of a shoot out.  RR opens the entire play book. and it is 42-21 at halftime.  I hope!!!  Tate and Gardner still want to score TD's in the 2nd half.  Defense has big cushion. 


October 2nd, 2010 at 7:45 PM ^

But no reason to use annoying tones like "NFW" or "oh come on" - even if Mathlete was wrong, you can disagree without condescending.  As it, dude's looking strong this week with his MSU pick, his close pick in the UM/IU game, his prediction of Tressel ball, etc.

Zone Left

October 3rd, 2010 at 2:50 PM ^

Mathlete, solid work on the projections this week, especially in the Big 10.  Michigan won close, Sparty got the upset, OSU won closer than many expected, and Minnesota almost pulled out the upset.  I hope you made some money off of your mad skills.


October 3rd, 2010 at 7:01 PM ^

While watching Michigan beat Indiana, a friend of mine suggested at halftime that Michigan should just kick onside every time.  His rationale was we really didnt stop their offense very much (I believe they scored on 3 of 6 drives in the first half) and they really couldnt stop ours (I think we were 3 of 5, only being stopped by a fumble and when Tate came in).  He also thought we would recover roughly half the onside kicks (not sure what the historical rate is).  I am curious how the statistics would work out with this strategy.  Any insight would be appreciated.